Written evidence from Greater Manchester
Combined Authority (HSR 114)|
Greater Manchester welcomes the opportunity to contribute
to the Committee inquiry into the strategic case for a proposed
high speed rail network. Transport is recognised as a priority
by the GMCA and LEP which have identified the need to "significantly
improve connectivity into and within the city region" as
a strategic objective. It was in recognition of this that the
Greater Manchester Transport Fund (GMTF) was developed, an innovative
£1.5 billion package of schemes developed and prioritised
on the basis of their contribution to regional productivity through
a measure of increase in GVA per £ of whole life cost whilst
also demonstrating positive benefits in terms of environmental
and social outcomes. Funded by a combination of local, regional
and national funding streams, the prioritised list of schemes
alone is forecast to increase employment in the city region by
20,000 and lead to a GVA increase of £1.3 billion per
annum by 2021. We express our strong support in favour of the
principles of developing a high speed network, which will increase
both capacity and inter-urban connectivity between Manchester
and the other cities on the line as well as releasing capacity
on the existing Greater Manchester rail network.
1. What are the main arguments either for
or against HSR?
From our perspective, the primary arguments in favour
of the HSR programme centre on the increases in inter-urban connectivity
and the knock-on capacity improvements to the "classic"
Despite £9 billion of upgrades, the West
Coast Mainline is set to again exceed capacity by mid-2020. The
West Coast is the only direct link between Manchester and London,
and is set to see passenger demand grow by as much as 61% by 2025
according to the West Coast RUS. Further incremental upgrades
to the line would be short sighted when set against the opportunity
to develop a new dedicated high-speed inter-urban network.
Increasing capacity will not just benefit long distance
passengers, it will free up capacity on the existing network.
At present 13% of trains arriving in Manchester during the three
hour morning peak are overcrowded. This figure is set to rise
to over 25% by 2025.The extra capacity HSR will create would allow
increased frequencies to local destinations and new services to
more locations benefiting local commuters, leisure travellers
and freight services.
Cities like Manchester are the drivers of our nation's
economy, with an economic base centred on new knowledge-intensive
and high-tech industries which serve local, regional and international
markets. The continued successful expansion of these industries
is dependent on high quality intercity links, allowing firms to
gain agglomeration benefits by accessing new and more diversified
markets throughout the UK and Europe. With journey times at over
two hours to London and over one and a half hours to Birmingham
(which are unimpressive when compared to our European competitors)
current inter-urban connectivity is constraining Manchester's
economic growth. The Manchester Independent Economic Review suggests
that Greater Manchester, given its scale and range of assets,
is the best placed city in the UK to increase its productivity
and long term growth and to act as a complementary growth pole
to London and the South East, supporting the objective of the
Coalition Agreement to rebalance the economy geographically.
2. How does HSR fit with the Government's
transport policy objectives?
2.1 HSR is designed to improve inter-urban
connectivity. How does that objective compare in importance to
other transport policy objectives and spending programmes, including
those for the strategic road network?
The HSR programme matches the Government's vision
for sustainable, balanced growth across the whole of the United
Kingdom, by addressing the economic North-South imbalance which
costs the UK economy £38 billion per annum in GDP. HSR
will improve inter-city connectivity, which, when combined with
proposals for the Northern Hub, will generate economic benefits
across the 10 million Northern conurbation.
HSR also meets the Government's transport policy
objectives for an integrated transport network by encouraging
a modal shift to more carbon efficient, environmentally sustainable
modes. Existing road capacity cannot meet the forecast increases
in demand, and building new road space is expensive, environmentally
unsustainable and politically contentious. Previous Government
plans to increase capacity on the M6 by developing a new parallel
running motorway between junctions 11-19 were abandoned less than
two years after their proposal. HSR, coupled with investment in
the existing rail network in Greater Manchester via the Northern
Hub, progressive electrification and potential Tram-Train schemes
will complement the development of a low carbon sustainable transport
system in Manchester.
The HSR programme matches Government spending policy
in achieving value for money in transport investment. The alternatives
to HS2 generate much lower cost benefits and crucially don't provide
the long term capacity increases needed. Rail Package 2a (RP2a),
which is by far the best performing of the alternative schemes
to HS2 has a comparable BCR but only increases capacity by 54%
as compared to the 200% rise in capacity HS2 would create. (High
Speed Rail Command Paper, DfT, March 2010)
2.2 Focusing on rail, what would be the implications
of expenditure on HSR on funding for the "classic" network,
for example in relation to investment to increase track and rolling
stock capacity in and around major cities?
The HSR programme should not be viewed as an alternate
approach to investment on the existing network, but as an addition.
The effectiveness of the HSR programme is reliant upon the efficient
running of the conventional network to aid onward connectivity.
It is critical that HSR stations and infrastructure are well integrated
into existing local rail and tram networks, as the immediate area
surrounding the HSR station is unlikely to be the ultimate origin
or destination of any journey. Investment must be made where necessary
to existing facilities or new connections created to allow passengers
to quickly transfer to and from their ultimate origin and destination.
The success of HSR in Manchester and the wider Northern
region will be reliant upon investment in the Northern Hub scheme,
which will enhance inter-urban connectivity in the North, complimenting
the HSR proposal. Money must be made available for Network Rail
to commit to this programme (which generates a BCR of 4:1) in
control period 5 in order for the full social and economic benefits
of HS2 to be realised in the North West.
Current investment commitments allocate in excess
of £1 billion per annum to Crossrail, a scheme which
will be complete by 2017; the same time that investment in high
speed rail will need to commence. This funding should be allocated
to the HSR project to reduce additional funding requirements and
protect funding for the conventional rail network, and other general
2.3 What are the implications for domestic
A combination of reduced journey times, improved
quality and increased service frequency has been proven to induce
modal shift from competitor modes to rail. The 2008 introduction
of the Virgin Pendolino service between Manchester and London,
which reduced journey times from 2 hours 30 minutes to 2 hours
8 minutes, resulted in rail's market share on the Manchester-London
corridor increasing from 38% in 2003 to 80% in 2010.
Figures published by The Association of Train Operating
Companies (ATOC) show that rail's market share on the 10 most
popular domestic air routes in 2010 grew to 44%up from
29% in 2006. Whilst this growth is impressive, it shows that the
majority of trips on these routes is still undertaken by air and
demonstrates the potential for future modal shift to rail if further
reductions in journey time are brought about by HSR. In Europe,
the introduction of a HSR line between Madrid and Barcelona saw
the market share for air travel fall from 84%-52%, and is expected
to drop to just 30% in the future. We would expect similar model
shift from domestic aviation to occur in the UK with the introduction
of a full HSR network.
We welcome the Government's interest in linking Airports
to the HSR network and HS2 Ltd's examination of Manchester Airport
as a potential parkway station serving Greater Manchester and
the North West. We are keen that this option is developed further
in order that the maximum number of people possible is able to
access the network without the need to enter the centre of Manchester.
3. Business Case
3.1 How robust are the assumptions and methodologyfor
example, on passenger forecasts, modal shifts, fare levels, scheme
costs, economic assumptions (eg about the value of time) and the
impact of lost revenue on the "classic" network?
The Government has been comprehensive in its methodology
of the costs and benefits of a HSR network, which has been developed
on an understandably cautious basis. The Government has gone to
great lengths to revise their BCR assumptions in line with updated
passenger demand figures, based on lower growth levels as a result
of the projected lower rate of growth of GDP.
Cost estimates are based on the project being solely
Government funded, yet the Secretary of State has expressed his
expectation that major beneficiaries of HSR in the private sector
will make financial contribution. Private sector investment, which
isn't taken into account in the business case would both make
the scheme more attractive and reduce costs to Government. Precedent
for public private partnership funding is evident from the Crossrail
Bill which included the use of a supplementary business rate to
levy funds from the private sector totalling £150 million.
3.2 What would be the pros and cons of resolving
capacity issues in other ways, for example by upgrading the West
Coast Main Line or building a new conventional line?
Britain cannot continue to rely on incremental improvements
to our existing rail infrastructure. The West Coast Mainline is
a Victorian railway that has served us well in the 19th and 20th
centuries, but is not able to cope with the demands of the current
century. The main alternative to HSR; Rail Package 2a; is an upgrade
of existing lines and the experience of the earlier version of
this approach (the West Coast Route Modernisation project) is
relevant. Its costs were estimated at £2.1 billion.
The final cost was £9 billion and it entailed a decade
of on-line works, which was hugely disruptive to rail users. There
is much greater risk and uncertainty around cost estimates to
upgrades of existing lines than those made for new-build. Upgrades
typically take longer than originally programmed too (note HS1
was constructed on time, and to budget, unlike the West Coast
Proponents of the alternatives must also take into
account as best they can what will have been achieved upon completion.
In the case of RP2a, a situation will have been created in which
any further similar developments designed essentially to create
additional capacity will have increasingly poor benefit cost performance
and the Government of the day will find themselves belatedly needed
to construct a high speed line after all.
3.3 What would be the pros and cons of alternative
means of managing demand for rail travel, for example by price?
Managing demand by way of pricing rail out of passengers'
economic means contradicts Government policy on creating a sustainable
and integrated transport network. Long distance domestic travellers
will be forced into using air travel, which is unsustainable on
carbon grounds and given that HSR is the Government's alternative
to building a new runway at Heathrow. Similarly forcing medium
distance travellers onto the already saturated motorway network
will stifle economic growth, whilst also generating significant
negative environmental impacts.
3.4 What lessons should the Government learn
from other major transport projects to ensure that any new high
speed lines are built on time and to budget?
From Manchester's perspective, we urge the Government
to ensure that there is no repeat of the lack of long term strategic
planning that resulted in the "White Elephant" £135
million Waterloo International Station only being operational
for 13 years. It is for this reason that we believe it is necessary
to develop proposals for the whole of the "Y" network
now, rather than to break it down into two phases. It is noted
that whilst HS2 Ltd's work on the Birmingham-Manchester line began
only seven months after their work on the London-Birmingham line
concluded, it is predicted to open seven years after the first
phase. It is Greater Manchester's strong belief that the maximum
economic benefits will only be captured if the full network is
promoted as a single whole and that Parliament should scrutinise
the proposal for the full "Y" network rather than as
4. The Strategic Route
4.1 The proposed route to the West Midlands
has stations at Euston, Old Oak Common, Birmingham International
and Birmingham Curzon Street. Are these the best possible locations?
What criteria should be used to assess the case for more (or fewer)
We have no view on the proposed line of route from
London to the West Midlands but support the proposed stations
at Euston, and Old Oak Common which will provide access to a greater
proportion of London and the South East than is accessible from
Euston alone, as well as providing access to Heathrow.
Intermediate towns and cities between London and
Manchester will benefit significantly from the extra capacity
released by HSR on the "classic network". If intermediate
stations were to be built, they should be built in such a way
that the principle journey times and capacity available for services
to Greater Manchester is not diminished.
4.2 Which cities should be served by an eventual
high speed network? Is the proposed Y configuration the right
GMCA supports the Government's proposal for an initial
"Y" shaped high speed network serving Birmingham, Manchester
(and Manchester Airport) and Leeds as these cities will provide
the greatest economic benefits in terms of agglomeration; though
we believe that more analysis needs to be carried out on the how
high speed trains will be integrated onto the current network
to run North of Lichfield and accommodated at stations including
Piccadilly and in Liverpool.
GMCA firmly believe that the proposed "Y"
network should be seen as the first step of a longer term strategy
in developing a comprehensive national HSR network, increasing
inter-urban connections between currently poorly connected cities
in order to address the nation's economic divide, Manchester needs
better more frequent and quicker services to the Northern cities
of Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Sheffield.
It would also be beneficial to improve links to the cities of
Nottingham, Bristol and Cardiff.
4.3 Is the Government correct to build the
network in stages, moving from London northwards?
We agree with the Government's view that the HSR
programme should be constructed in stages from London upwards.
However, as we make clear in our answer to question 3.4 we believe
the scheme should be planned as a single project and considered
through Parliament on the basis of a single hybrid bill. Although
it would add time and complexity, it would still take significantly
less parliamentary time than two hybrid bills in different parliamentary
sessions. In the intervening period before the high-speed line
opens in Manchester it is clear that some work may be required
between Lichfield and Manchester to accommodate the new High Speed
Rail services from day one.
4.4 The Government proposes a link to HS1
as part of Phase 1 but a direct link to Heathrow only as part
of Phase 2. Are those the right decisions?
We strongly support the proposals for a link to HS1
as part of phase 1 of the construction of the HS2 network. Direct
access to the Channel Tunnel and Europe will allow firms in Manchester
and the North West to access new and more diversified markets,
increasing economic productivity.
We agree that a future HSR link to Heathrow may be
required, but this must not disadvantage passengers wishing to
access central London.
5. Economic rebalancing and equity
5.1 What evidence is there that HSR will promote
economic regeneration and help bridge the North-South economic
European evidence from case studies highlighting
the agglomeration benefits created by bringing major urban areas
closer together is clear. It was feared the introduction of a
HSR line between Lyon and Paris would damage Lyon's regional economy,
and widen the economic divide between Paris and the French regions.
Instead since the introduction of HSR, Lyon has seen unprecedented
economic growth and regeneration, with a second central business
district forming around the new HSR station, creating 20,000 new
jobs. There are strong parallels therefore between Manchester
Early local studies conducted by us predict almost
10,000 jobs would be generated across the region covered by the
Northern Way partnership, boosting productivity and growing the
economic output across the area by £967 million per year.
5.2 To what extent should the shape of the
network be influenced by the desirability of supporting local
and regional regeneration?
It is paramount that the shape of the HSR network
is led by the desire to support regional economic development
and where possible local regeneration. Urban regional centres
will benefit the most from HSR through job creation and increased
economic output, and we feel the proposed "Y" shape
network linking London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds; and
potentially onwards to Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow
will be critical in achieving the objective. However, high speed
rail is not a panacea for regional regeneration but is one of
a number of interventions, including capacity improvements on
the existing rail network, which will better link a wide range
of towns and cities in order to maximise the ability of people
to reach employment, training and education opportunities.
5.3 Which locations and socio-economic groups
will benefit from HSR?
HSR will primarily benefit major urban areas through
agglomeration opening up new markets. HSR will increase
the number of workplace jobs accessible from Manchester within
90 minutes by rail by 90%. A city centre station site is essential
as all previous studies have concluded. Only rail can provide
unrivalled city centre to city centre transport capacity.
A second HSR station located at Manchester Airport
would also generate large benefits. Growth impacts concentrated
on Manchester Airport and surrounding area will see an estimated
productivity rise of £290 per job per annum. Benefits of
HSR however are not limited to the immediate urban areas surrounding
HSR stations. In the North West HS2 will create economic benefits
that spread far beyond the immediate Greater Manchester area,
with productivity per job estimated to rise by £201 per job
p.a as far away as Preston.
Although HSR's primary markets will be business and
leisure travel, the capacity released on the conventional network
will support access to jobs and other opportunities at all levels
and to all socio-economic groups.
5.4 How should the Government ensure that
all major beneficiaries of HSR (including local authorities and
business interests) make an appropriate financial contribution
and bear risks appropriately? Should the Government seek support
from the EU's TEN-T programme?
Government needs to explore all appropriate areas
of funding, especially those that reduce the cost to the tax payer.
Greater Manchester through its Transport Fund is making substantial
investments into local transport infrastructure. In the main we
see HSR as infrastructure of strategic national importanceand
would expect therefore that much of the necessary funds would
therefore come from central government.
6.1 What will be the overall impact of HSR
on UK carbon emissions? How much modal shift from aviation and
roads would be needed for HSR to reduce carbon?
The introduction of a HSR network has the potential
to significantly reduce carbon emission levels in the UK as it
will induce a modal shift from the carbon-intensive modes of car
and air travel. According to the Department for Transport, in
2008 domestic transport accounted for 21% of the UK's domestic
emissions of carbon dioxide. ATOC research demonstrates that HSR
travel produces only one-third of the carbon emissions of car
travel and one-quarter the emissions of an equivalent trip by
air, taking into account the average loadings typically achieved
on each mode. A national HSR network incorporating Scotland is
forecast to reduce CO2 emissions by one million tonnes each year
HSR's carbon output will fall further in the future
due to the progressive de-carbonisation of the UK's electricity
6.2 Are environmental costs and benefits (including
in relation to noise) correctly accounted for in the business
GMCA feel that the Government has gone to great lengths
to account for environmental costs and benefits within the business
case. Assessments of environmental costs and benefits attributed
to both the lines construction and eventual usage have been derived
from detailed assessments and future levels of demand and carbon
emissions are based on conservative estimates. Comparisons have
also made with the environmental impacts of HS1 and other rail
6.3 What would be the impact on freight services
on the "classic" network?
Introduction of a HSR network would have positive
impacts on freight services, as they will benefit from the reduced
demand for inter-urban services on the existing rail network freeing
capacity on the "classic" network. The freed capacity
HS2 would create for freight services on the "classic"
network is extremely important, as according to Network Rail's
"The Network Route Utilisation Freight Strategy", volumes
are set to increase by as much as 140% between 2006-07 and 2030-31.
6.4 How much disruption will be there to services
on the "classic" network during construction, particularly
during the rebuilding of Euston?
Whilst we accept their will be disruption to services
during the rebuilding of Euston station, the disturbances caused
will be far less than those which would be created by incremental
improvements to the West Coast Mainline. Lessons need to be learnt
from the 1998-2008 West Coast Mainline modernisation. Disruption
caused by live incremental improvements increased journey times
between Manchester and London to almost three hours and had a
significant negative impact on punctuality and reliability. The
resultant impact saw passengers move away from rail travel to
more environmentally unsustainable modes, and it took a long time
for the rail industry to recover patronage.
No work has been published to date around plans that
may need to be developed at Manchester Piccadilly to accommodate
HSR trains from the outset. It is essential (i) that such plans
are developed expeditiously and (ii) that when implemented these
plans do not lead to significant disruptions during construction.
16 May 2011